"How are many of you are still struggling with reading?" I just love asking students this question. When only a few hands are raised, I would sigh in relieve (glad that at least for them the path ahead is less thorny and treacherous because they have mastered the most important skill) but when more than 5 students raise their hands the dark cloud of worries would start to descend upon me.
Here are some thoughts on why parents and teachers should pay more attention to their children's or their students' reading abilities:
1. Students need to be able to read in order to handle most subjects in schools such as language subjects, history, science, geography, arts, living skills, science, physics and etc. They need to be able to read and to comprehend what they are reading in order to understand various subject matters. If their reading ability is very poor even at basal level then it will surely be very difficult for them to cope with all the subjects they are learning in schools. The first step to learning a new topic is to read about the topic before hand to prepare the mind for the information that is about to be imparted on the topic. Teachers will teach and will explain on the topic in the classroom but if students do not read on the topic before hand they will have limited understanding of the topic. Besides, they will need reading to prepare for lessons, to revise and to complete tasks.
2. Reading comprehension is a major part of examinations at primary, secondary and at college level. At UPSR, PMR, SPM, STPM and college level reading comprehension for Bahasa Melayu and English language (+MUET) carries a high percentage of marks. So, how would a student cope with all these exams if his or her reading ability is very poor?
3. The ability to read accurately and the ability to make sense of what one is reading instill a sense of confidence and accomplishment in a child. Students feel good when they can read. They feel good when they can understand what they are reading. They feel "successful" when they can answer reading comprehension tasks in class. They feel confident to interact with teachers and their peers. They feel good about themselves and feel motivated to study.
4. Students who love reading seldom create problems in school. They seldom waste times with empty chatters, loitering and other forms of useless activities. They fill their times with reading as a way to relax their time, as way to find inspiration, to draw life values and to gather information.
Do you have any additional information on the issue above? Please share if you like.